Okay, admit it! Your favorite toy as a kid wasn’t a Barbie Doll, or your Hot Wheels, it was your Legos! I’ll be the first to admit that I actually still have my Legos in a Rubbermaid tub in my basement. Why you ask? Well, so I can give my kids the same joy that I had. Whether you are a boy, or a girl. Whether you were 5, 12, or 15, Legos were the bomb!
Enough about how cool Legos were, let’s talk about some different ways that we in environmental education can actually use the Legos in something else besides building cities, planes or fantasy worlds.
A topic that is used everyday whether you realize it or not is Classification, or grouping items based on similar characteristics. Such as, items that are rough, items that are smooth, items that are red or items that are blue. (Yes, I just pulled a Dr. Seuss there.) Classification plays a major role in animal species. We know that each animal and living thing has a special title called its “scientific name.” This is a way scientists can keep each animal separate. But, let’s face it, kids do NOT care what the scientific name of a Bullsnake is, they just want to see the snake and observe it.
So, to help teach your kids about classification at a young age, use Legos. Let me show you how. Take a few of the larger sized Legos, and a dry erase marker. Write different types groups of animals on them. (Birds, Mammals, Fish, Insects, Reptiles etc.) Then take a lot of the smaller Legos, and write detailed animal names (Grasshopper, Snake, Owl, Deer, etc. ) Then have kids figure out what categories to put them in. They are learning classificaton but are using a toy, that many people have.
For younger kids you may want to start simpler. Like, intstead of categories like mammals, birds, reptiles, etc. Do things like flies, swims, has 4 legs, has 6 legs, etc.
For older children use labels like omnivore, carnivore, herbivore, etc. The possbilities are endless. Also, when you are done, you can wipe away the marker, and your Legos will not be ruined.